FRENCH OPEN 2013 R32 – 2 Olympic champions sent packing

The French Open started in the worst way for Olympic men's doubles Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng, who each fought hard only to lose in the first round with their respective new partners.

The started in the worst way for Olympic men’s doubles Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng, who each fought hard only to lose in the first round with their respective new partners.

By Tarek Hafi, live in Paris.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

England’s Chris Adcock and Andrew Ellis started off their Yonex French Open campaign in the most convincing way, as they got rid of China’s Cai Yun and Chai Biao in a three-game fight.  Cai’s former partner Fu Haifeng was also unable to advance in his new pairing with Hong Weiwere not able to cross the Korean roadblock as they stumbled as well against Denmark Open champions Lee Yong Dae and Yoo Yeon Seong.  Not all the news was good for Korea, however, as a few metres away, their other Denmark Open finalist Sung Ji Hyun didn’t last long against India’s Pusarla Venkata Sindhu.

It may only have been a quasi-upset that took place today in the Pierre de Coubertin arena as the newly paired Cai Yun and Chai Biao were sent packing.  However, that didn’t stop the world #19 Chris Adcock and Andrew Ellis from being elated at their victory.

Buoyed by a very supportive crowd, the English pair came up with the right tactics to defeat Cai Yun, the current Olympic Champion and his new partner Chai Biao, himself a highly decorated doubles player who has been kept out of the world’s top 10 of late chiefly by partner changes.

It is always difficult to play against a new pair, but we tried our best to remain focussed on what we know we can do very wel,”l confessed Andrew Ellis after their incredible match.  “We just came back playing together since Chris got married, therefore it was important to remember what we can achieve as a pair, and I think we did that today.

The clever scheme to prevent Cai Yun from reaching the shuttle worked beautifully until the latter displayed his long experience in the circuit.  Despite a remarkable return in the second game from the English pair, Cai Yun impressed with his calm and concentration in those key moments, enough to readjust the level and bringing it to a rubber after eking out the second 25-23.

Absolutely not impressed by their opponents, Adcock and Ellis kept on playing their very aggressive game, asphyxiating the Chinese pair with lethal attacks.  Despite a late comeback for Cai Yun and Chao Biao, it turned out to be in vain as the English kept pushing their shots toward the less experienced Chai Biao, who committed the last two errors, to send the English pair to the second round where they’ll meet world #8 Koreans Kim Sa Rang and Kim Ki Jung.

It’s fantastic stuff so far, and we definitely hope we can keep going.  We did probably our worst performance last week, and this probably helped us think about why are we a good pair together, what we need to do to improve,” concluded a delighted Chris Adcock.

Just a few hours before it was Cai Yun’s former partner Fu Haifeng who was defeated by another new pairing of Lee Yong Dae and Yoo Yeon Seong in a three-game battle as well.  Fu and Hong Wei also scraped by in the second game 24-22 and even had to face down a match point for the Koreans but they were dominated in the decider.

The recent Denmark Open women’s singles finalist Sung Ji Hyun was shown the way out by India’s up-and-coming player P.V. Sindhu in a convincing 21-8, 21-12 performance.  Looking very far from what she can achieve, Sung Ji Hyun never really entered the match, having a terrible time moving all around the court.

It may be another chance for the young Indian to achieve a superb run like she had a couple of months ago at the World Championships.  Next up for her is London Grand Prix Gold runner-up Kirsty Gilmour of Scotland.

Click here for complete Day 2 results from Paris

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